Nutrigenomics is a growing (and relatively young) field of study, yet some nutritionists already offer genetic testing of a limited number of genes in hopes of providing you with a way to improve your diet and your health.
Nutritionist Carolyn Katzin has developed the DNA Diet, for which she tests clients for several genes. While this is a good start, it's only a drop in the bucket -- humans have at least 20,000 different genes. The current level of nutrigenomic testing can provide useful dietary health solutions, but the full benefit of this advancement has yet to be realized.
However, Katzin's DNA Diet and testing procedures may yield useful information for individuals. One of the genes that's tested -- glutathione-s-transferase mu -- plays a role in detoxification, and up to half of all Caucasians may be missing this gene.
By bolstering detoxification abilities of the body by adding specific vegetables (such as cabbage) or nutrients to aid the liver, the thinking goes that this will help the body eliminate toxins and waste, resulting in better health.
But attaining better health through nutrigenomics may not be as simple as adjusting for a missing gene here or there. Foods interact with many different genes at once, and not just one specific gene. Additionally, dietary changes may be beneficial to the expression of one gene, but detrimental to the expression of another. Researchers are still learning how food affects the entire spectrum of our genetic makeup, but current genetic testing and dietary manipulation offer a promising start.